The head of Queensland’s corruption watchdog has urged the state government to close a legal loophole which allows people to potentially cover up corrupt conduct without consequences.
The Crime and Corruption Commission on Friday found there were no grounds to prosecute MP Mark Bailey, following a six-month investigation into the use and subsequent deletion of the private email account – [email protected]
CCC chief executive Alan MacSporran said the investigation found the stood-down energy minister had technically not breached the public records act by deleting the account, because it had been reactivated, meaning the emails hadn’t been “disposed of” under the law.
He said Mr Bailey had been “very foolish” but was “extremely lucky” the email account could be retrieved.
However Mr MacSporran said even if the account had been permanently deleted, it would have been hard to prosecute Mr Bailey because the Public Records Act and Right to Information Act don’t contain provisions for people to be prosecuted for those types of behaviour.
“So you end up with a technical breach where you haven’t dealt with the records appropriately, but in effect you can’t be prosecuted for that,” he told reporters on Friday.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reinstated Mr Bailey to cabinet and his ministerial positions, including energy and main roads, following the CCC’s announcement.
Mr Bailey apologised for his actions, insisting he had deleted the account to try to comply with ministerial guidelines.
However he refused to commit to now publicly release the emails, suggesting another RTI request should be filed to access them.